Developers have just uncorked a brand new release of Wine, the open source compatibility layer that allows Windows apps to run on Linux.
A substantial update, Wine 8.0 is distilled from a year’s worth of active development (roughly 8,600 changes in total). From that, a wealth of improvements are provided across every part of the Wine experience, from app compatibility, though to performance, and a nicer looking UI.
If you sample the fortnightly dev releases of Wine nothing you will be familiar with, and already benefitting from the bulk of “what’s new” in this update. Most users, however, will be coming to the new release afresh.
Notable highlights in Wine 8.0 include the completion of PE conversion, meaning all modules can be built in PE format. Wine devs say this work is an important milestone towards supporting “copy protection, 32-bit applications on 64-bit hosts, Windows debuggers, x86 applications on ARM”, and more.
There’s also further work on WoW64, an effort that will let 32-bit Windows apps work without any 32-bit Unix library being present. The feature is in active development so Wine devs say its not something they recommend for general use. Building Wine with a
--enable-archs config option enables the feature.
Also of note, there’s a redesigned joystick control panel that sports new graphics and a dedicated view for xinput devices, better controller hot plugging, and the HID Haptics spec is used for left/right motor rumble and trigger rumble.
There’s also better detection of driving wheel controllers, better reporting of them, and an improved force feedback effect when using devices that support it.
Other highlights in Wine 8.0:
- New “light” theme used by default
- Better controller hot plugging
- hidraw backend supports Sony DualShock & DualSense controllers
- Print Processor architecture implemented
- Effects are supported in Direct2D
- Vulkan driver supports v1.3.237 of the Vulkan spec
- OpenAL32.dll wrapper library removed
- Mono engine updated to v7.4
- RSA encryption, RSA-PSS signing algorithm added
- Notepad status bar shows current cursor position
- Notepad gains Goto Line functionality
- JScript garbage collector implemented
- Accessibility support enabled in Wine Gecko
- Font linking enabled for (most) system fonts
Want a bit more flavour? You can pour over the official release notes for Wine 8.0 on the project website.
Wine maintain its own Ubuntu repository that enables Ubuntu users to install newer versions of Wine on their systems. See the WineHQ wiki for more details on how to do this, and the best way to install Wine 8.0 on other Linux distributions.